Initial clinical laboratory experience in noninvasive prenatal testing for fetal aneuploidy from maternal plasma DNA samples


  • Funding source: This work was funded by Verinata Health, Inc., an Illumina company.

  • Conflicts of interest: TF, SB, RPR, EDF, and AJS are employees of Verinata and own or hold company stock options. JS received compensation as clinical laboratory director.



The aim of this study is to report the experience of noninvasive prenatal DNA testing using massively parallel sequencing in an accredited clinical laboratory.


Laboratory information was examined for blood samples received for testing between February and November 2012 for chromosome 21 (Chr21), Chr18, and Chr13. Monosomy X (MX) testing was available from July 2012 for cystic hygroma indication. Outcomes were collected from providers on samples with positive results.


There were 5974 samples tested, and results were issued within an average of 5.1 business days. Aneuploidy was detected in 284 (4.8%) samples (155 Chr21, 66 Chr18, 19 Chr13, 40 MX, and four double aneuploidy). Follow-ups are available for 245/284 (86%), and 77/284 (27.1%) are confirmed, including one double-aneuploidy case concordant with cytogenetics from maternal malignancy. Fourteen (0.2%) discordant (putative false-positive) results (one Chr21, six Chr18, three Chr13, three MX, and one Chr21/13) have been identified. Five (0.08%) false-negative cases are reported (two trisomy 21, two trisomy 18, and one MX). In 170 (2.8%) cases, the result for a single chromosome was indefinite.


This report suggests that clinical testing of maternal cell-free DNA for fetal aneuploidy operates within performance parameters established in validation studies. Noninvasive prenatal testing is sensitive to biological contributions from placental and maternal sources. ©2013 Verinata Health, Inc. Prenatal Diagnosis published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.